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This house believes Macs are better than PCs
This house believes Macs are better than PCs
Ask anyone whether they prefer Macs or PCs, and you’ll most likely get yourself into a heated discussion of which is superior. Macs are made by Apple and run Apple Operating System. PC (personal computers) refers to a broad variety of computers made by many different companies, including Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and more. Although Macs do not sell in as high a quantity as PCs, they do comprise 91% of computers that cost $1,000 or more. Are they truly better, or simply more expensive?
|Points For||Points Against|
|Macs are easier to use||PCs are better for helping lower classes and underprivileged nations|
|Macs are faster than PCs||PCs offer more variety|
|Macs have better tech support||Macs are way too expensive, and so they're not available to a huge number of people around the world.|
|Macs don't get viruses as often and thus run more smoothly||PCs are better for gaming|
Remember to choose a winning argument!
Macs are easier to use
Apple has gone to greater lengths to make using their computers easy to use than PC makers have. Mac apps all have similar looks and interfaces. Juul Coolen explains that consistent interface design “made it possible for users to actually use most Mac-applications in a very same way, creating a seamless and comfortable experience in the end. Users are able to anticipate how the system behaves and what to expect from its applications”. This has been corroborated by people who have tried both PCs and Macs. Popular Mechanics conducted a usability survey that incorporated a “panel of testers with a range of experience and preference that ran the gamut from expert users to…[one person who] had never actually turned on a computer” and concluded that overall the Mac was easier to use.
Most people are already accustomed to Windows, meaning whether Macs are more intuitive is superfluous as they already know how to operate a PC. “Windows…is already the OS of choice in over 90 percent of worldwide machines. Switching [to a Mac] isn’t just a matter of transferring files: it’s also about interface familiarity and availability of software.” PCs are easier to use because people are already used to them.
Macs are faster than PCs
Tests of speed on Macs vs. PCs all conclude the same thing: Macs are faster. PC world tested this in 2007 and concluded: “The fastest Windows Vista notebook we’ve tested this year–or for that matter, ever–is a Mac”. Popular Mechanics verified this, basing its test “both on a panel of users judging the computers on subjective points, as well as a series of benchmarking applications on both platforms. In both the laptop and desktop showdowns, Apple’s computers were the winners," the magazine said. Mac hardware is faster than PC hardware, and Mac applications run faster as well.
In reality, “speed, stability and multi-tasking on a computer really depend on a number of factors, from how many programs (and what type) you have running to how much RAM you have installed – a souped up gaming or desktop-replacement PC may well (on paper and most likely speed tests) outperform a top-of-the-line Mac Pro, both processing-wise and price-wise”. Speed is mostly a function of what one has running on the computer, and how good the computer is, not which company makes it. Because Macs are more expensive, you can add RAM to a PC to make it faster, while still paying less.
Macs have better tech support
The Forrester Research, a survey of 4,500 consumers, rated Apple an 80%, which is interpreted as good. However, “Gateway scored a 66; Hewlett-Packard, a 64; and Compaq (a brand owned by H.P.), a 63 — scores that Forrester considers “poor” rankings in the customer experience index. Dell got 58 percent, a “very poor” rating.” Bruce Tempkin, the vice president of Forrester, commented that the PC industry had indeed scored very poorly, and that this ought to serve as a “wake-up call to Microsoft.” This study corroborates a previous survey conducted by Consumer Reports, which asked for feedback from 4,500 laptop computer users and almost 5,600 desktop computer users after they had called in for tech support. Peter Cohen reported the results: “Consumer Reports rated customer satisfaction with tech support on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the most satisfied. Apple scored an 83 in the laptop survey and an 81 on the desktop side…Apple was the only manufacturer to top 80 in either category.” The highest-scoring competitors for laptops ranged from 48 to 66, and for desktops from 47 to 56. By all measures and in all categories, Macs have far better customer support.
While Apple may have pretty good service, their repairs are almost as costly as buying a new computer. The PC retailer PC Pro argues, “The standard Apple technical support offering is nothing short of scandalous. You could pay £13,500 for an absolute top-of-the-range Mac Pro or £399 for a Mac mini, and you're still lumbered with Apple's standard warranty, which comprises a pitiful 90-days, telephone support and just one year's return-to-base hardware warranty.” Many PCs, by comparison come with longer warranties, making the cost of repairs much lower.
Macs don't get viruses as often and thus run more smoothly
Macs run into fewer problems when operating than PCs, because Macs are harder to target and most viruses target PCs. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, explains: “Mac is more secure, simply because it has less attacks targeting it…[hackers’] existing codebase and expertise is on Windows, so they keep creating more Windows attacks”. Paul Vixie, founder of the Internet Systems Consortium, agrees, saying that Macs are more secure because the code base is small and more modern, and because there are fewer Mac users, so there is less in it for the “bad guys” who make the viruses. Although it is true that both can get viruses, evidence shows that PCs do get them far more often. Moreover, even if PCs aren’t getting viruses, it’s likely because they have to constantly have antivirus software running in the background, which slows them down.
In reality, Vista and Windows 7 have “more extensive countermeasures against attacks and a codebase with presumably fewer security issues….Mac OS has fewer countermeasures and lots of easily exploitable bugs, but the market share is low, making it a less likely target” . So, it may be true that there are more viruses targeted towards PCs, but PC makers have taken steps to combat this. Moreover, according to one expert, Graham Cluley, “it's not about the operating system that is being run on the computer, it's the fleshy human sitting in front of it”. Whether or not your computer is attacked depends on what you do on it and how careful you are. Vincent Weafer, vice president of Symantec Security Response, agrees: “all technologies are subject to security vulnerabilities, including the Web browsers, common Web browser plug-ins and common applications that run on top of the operating systems. So in reality, consumers can fall victim to online threats regardless of the operating system they're using.” So, although Mac users may be targeted less, both PC and Mac users are susceptible to viruses.
PCs are better for helping lower classes and underprivileged nations
As aforementioned, “Venture into the computer department of a store like Best Buy, and you'll find scads of computers priced well under $1,000 and a handful for a grand or more. The former are almost all Windows machines”. Because there are cheaper, more low-end PCs available, they can be used all over the world, by many people who cannot afford Macs. This is especially important given that there are many “underprivileged communities suffer from limited access to quality computers” – even in First World nations such as the United States. Many programs—such as One Laptop per Child campaign and India’s $10 laptop program—provide cheap computers to low-income communities, and they all necessarily use PCs. In these cases accessibility and quantity, not high-end quality, is needed. Macs might look nice, but PCs have the power to change the world.
Although more computers could be sent over if the same donations were given to Mac-based charities and PC-based charities, most campaigns for sending computers do not involve buying new computers (this is not to say they do not exist, though). Organizations such as Computer Outreach simply take old computers given to them and refurbish them – meaning the initial cost is of no importance. Moreover, a recent study of such campaigns where cheap PCs are purchased for underprivileged persons finds that “For many kids, computers are indeed more of a distraction than a learning opportunity”. So, although cheap PCs may be optimal for those without the funds to purchase Macs, purchasing them for the underprivileged kids may not be prudent.
PCs offer more variety
It’s no secret that there are many more PC models than Mac models. Harry McCracken elaborates: “The best thing by far about Windows PCs is the sheer unending variety of choices. They come in every size from teeny-tiny to extra-large. There are boxes with touchscreens, Blu-Ray players for high-definition movies, and TV tuners that let you watch and record cable and satellite TV… Apple, meanwhile, makes Macs in nine basic variants…the company doesn't do Blu-Ray, TV tuners, touchscreens, and other features that are commonplace in the Windows world.” Many people buy computers to fit their specific needs, and it is much easier to do that with PCs than with the one-size-fits-all Mac line of products.Improve this
Because there are many manufacturers, there are also more models of PCs than Macs, but that doesn’t mean any of them are better. However, Tim Cook, Apple’s COO, explains: “[Apple’s] goal is not to build the most computers. It’s to build the best.” And this is clearly the case – “You need look no further than numbers released today by NPD to understand Apple’s strategy. Its revenue share of the “premium” price market — that is, computers over $1,000 — is a staggering 91%. This means that 9 out of every 10 retail dollars that is spent on PCs in that price range, goes to Apple”. So, although Apple may not be producing the most quantity, consumers clearly value their quality.
Macs are way too expensive, and so they're not available to a huge number of people around the world.
Many different companies make PC hardware and, as a consequence, they are much less pricey. Macs, however, are solely made by apple, and as such are quite expensive. A BrandIndex survey of 5,000 people asked “whether or not they believe they get good value for their money from a PC or Mac.” The rating was from -100 to 100, with 0 being a neutral score, and while Apple scored a low 12.4, Microsoft received a 46.2. Moreover, if one is looking for a cheap computer, PCs are the way to go. “Venture into the computer department of a store like Best Buy, and you'll find scads of computers priced well under $1,000 and a handful for a grand or more. The former are almost all Windows machines”. So, it seems clear that Macs cost more than PCs. Even for people who can afford either one, the extra money left over from not buying a Mac can be used for other computing needs, such as software.
Although the thought that Macs are more expensive than PCs has been around since the beginning of the rivalry, recent research has found otherwise. Scot Finnie found that when he looked at a Dell with the same features of Apple’s $2,799 MacBook Pro 17, “Dell come in at a whopping $3,459, some $650 more than the Apple product”. The rumor only seems true because Apple offers very few in-between products, but compared to Macs, PCs “were more expensive”. Indeed, other researchers have corroborated this finding. James Martin “compared the specs and prices of three current Apple laptops--the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro--against their likely Windows laptop competitors” and found that each was less expensive than its PC counterpart. Moreover, PCs generally require more maintenance than Macs. After the company Brookfields recently undertook a large uptake in upgrades for their Macs after considering a switch to PCs, the general manager Kevin Hall commented that their "IT staff numbers would need to double if we were to run the equivalent amount of PCs." Finally, a survey of 260 IT administrators collected in 2010 by The Enterprise Desktop Alliance found, “Mac’s cost less to manage than PC’s, according to 65% of the IT admins, with 19% of them saying Mac’s and PC’s are equally cheap/expensive and 16% said PC’s were the cheapest. They also learned that Mac’s are cheaper to troubleshoot and requires fewer help desk calls from the users.” So, in terms of base cost and support cost, Macs are more cost effective.
PCs are better for gaming
Because fewer people use Macs, gaming companies know there is a larger market share if they make games for PCs. Scott Stein elaborates: “Macs have been largely ignored in the realm of interactive entertainment. Due in part to the vast Windows market share and a developer-wide adoption of Microsoft’s DirectX graphics, it’s hard to find a range of titles as impressive as what’s available for Windows.” Tom Samiljan agrees: “in terms of gaming, the PC is the clear winner….Onscreen action and graphics tend to be a lot more detailed and smooth on a PC, especially when you install a high-performance graphics card!” PCs have the upper hand on gaming, which is a huge industry and a large reason why many people buy computers.
According to Glenda Adams, director of technology and development at Aspyr Media, "There really isn't any reason Macs can't run the most recent top games." Companies such as Aspyr port many popular games for Macs. Moreover, Macs now come standard with Boot Camp, a software that "partitions your hard drive, creating a section where you [can] install Microsoft's operating system"1. As aforementioned in the point 'Macs are faster than PCs', Macs can run Vista faster than PCs. So, not only can Mac users then run any of these PC games, but they can run them faster.
1: Narcisse, Evan. "How to Play PC Games on your Mac." July 22nd, 2009.
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